“They pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper”. –President Obama June 15, 2012 Immigration Speech
On Friday, June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that the United States will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the country as children if they meet certain requirements. He said the failure of Congress to pass immigration legislation, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act), was the main reason for the executive action. Many of the Presidents critics have said this executive order was politically motivated, but even if you believe the move was political or not you cannot deny that this was the right thing to do.
The GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, one of the loudest critics of the President’s executive order, has been vague on how he would handle the immigration problem. Here is what Romney told CBS’s “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer :
“I think the timing is pretty clear, if [Obama] really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, than this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months.”
What Romney and Congressional Republicans must have forgotten is that President Obama and Democrats supported and re-introduced the DREAM Act in 2009, 2010, and 2011, which Republicans blocked. The DREAM Act would have provided conditional permanent residency to certain illegal individuals of good moral character who graduate from U.S. high schools, arrived in the United States as minors, and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four-year institution of higher learning, they would obtain temporary residency for a six-year period. The DREAM Act was initially a bi-partisan idea that garnered past Republican support, but Republicans has since turned away from another piece of legislation they once supported.
Romney says he disagrees with Obama’s Executive Order, but has sympathy for illegal immigrants brought here as children. “I’d like to see legislation that deals with this issue, and I happen to agree with Marco Rubio,” Romney said. “If I’m president, we’ll do our very best to have that kind of solution.” Senator Rubio voted against the DREAM Act and during a GOP debate Romney said that if he were President he would veto the DREAM Act.
“The question is if I were elected and Congress were to pass the Dream Act, would I veto it and the answer is yes… For those that come here illegally, the idea of giving them in-state tuition credits or other special benefits, I find to be contrary to the idea of a nation of laws,” Romney said.
There are millions of illegal immigrants living here to no fault of their own who deserve to be treated like the citizens they are. Romney was asked if he would overturn Obama’s Executive Order if he was elected president and he could not give a definite answer, that’s because Romney has proven in past statements that he would not support legislation granting citizenship, either permanent or temporary, to children of illegal immigrants.